Can centrists survive in D.C.?
Former Senator Evan Bayh explains
- Duration 6:45
- Date May 25, 2012
Former Senator Evan Bayh explains
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I'm -- wants congress holds a 9% job approval rating.
-- market -- we had a 14% job approval rating.
And that was among people who killed him.
Americans just aren't angry with Washington they're furious and joining us now is Evan -- former governor of Indiana who also served in Washington for twelve years has a democratic senator please welcome -- Don't you grab your dolls and I am and ask you make a pitch to them.
For why Washington isn't broken unless you think that it is every 150.
Well frank unfortunately I do think Washington is broken -- -- -- -- I saw some of their responses to the previous debates and there are some differences of opinion in the room.
But my guess is that if we sat down and try to work out solutions to some of the problems that are facing America among this group we could probably get that done.
The congress right now is just so partisan so ideological.
There -- able to make the kind of common sense compromises that it takes to get the economy moving to get the debt down to -- the cost of health care down.
It's broken at a time we can afford that anymore so regrettably frank I think it's gonna take ultimate all of us.
Rising up and taking the system back to make the kind of progress America needs so congress is broken and fortunately it has broken.
Is the Obama administration broke it.
Well the Obama administration didn't perfect -- are but I think the president's doing his best.
But congress isn't.
No they're doing their best to but they're trapped in a system which they're.
535 members of congress -- they've -- -- to trying -- cobble together a principled compromise.
The president can just speak for himself the problem and the real problem we have is that too many members of congress and frankly it -- -- some of us they think of themselves first as.
Liberals or conservatives react Democrats or Republicans rather than as Americans first.
And you could look at this group of leaders -- of the statesman.
Women that we had minister of our country each and every one of them stood for.
Thinks they believe passionately in but at the end of the day there were -- to take some progress rather than -- We've got too many people in Washington right now -- -- -- all or nothing approach you take that kind of approach -- often you're gonna -- nothing to agree with him.
You agree with him.
Go ahead we seem to be locked into a kind of a two party dictatorship what are -- thoughts on that but it's true we have two parties and too often they're polarized and they're unable to find common ground and that's a shame.
I think what we need to do is to hold both parties accountable and say to both Democrats and Republicans look we understand your part of a party that's fine.
We understand you have strong principles and probably some ideological underpinnings we respect that too.
But at the end of the day you've got to put the country ahead of your party and head of your ideology if you don't we'll vote for someone else what.
What we've been doing enough for four years now we'll all Americans have been saying that it's that division in congress and nothing gets done as a matter of fact they get even more divided.
-- were at a point now it is absolutely nothing taking place.
Getting along seems to be that the more conservative people.
These like they're playing chicken with the with the with them what the best is and that consumers tell the blink.
In what they have to give -- and that's cook compromising getting nor had so many forget just.
And the conservatives prior to 2010 we had liberals in in office as well.
And then at the -- ten -- -- you're still having the gridlock that we had previously.
Has struck me for ever since the nation's of one iPad two different parties have seen system firm right over 200 years what's changed recently to make politics so divided.
That they can't seem to find a compromise -- it seems that way so well that would lead anybody on.
This gentleman's ST this is correct it we have had divisions in the past but the difference in the past is I mean look our country wouldn't exist.
The United States of America itself was a compromise.
Between big states and small states northern states and southern states etc.
they eventually had to come together so you know what.
Being one country and one people is more important to us that some of our differences we don't have that is most in Washington now you -- -- In the House of Representatives we've had what's called the gerrymandered sort of -- 35 members of the house no more than eighty probably of the districts are actually very competitive.
The real races there are in the primaries.
So if you're Democrat and your real races in the primary you'd want an opponent what do you do you move -- In the Republican Party moved to the right so there aren't nearly as many people in the middle.
Where it takes to really -- and fashion some principled compromises in the senate as an officially in the senate unfortunately it's two things the role of big money.
And the interest groups -- can contribute millions and millions of dollars number one.
Number I agree with that and number two the caucus system where to my surprise -- -- in the United States senate I was informed -- for your part of the team.
We expect you to be loyal to the team to stay with the team don't be in -- dependent don't -- for yourself if you do that.
Who will do things -- punish you for that.
And so that system needs to change to Harry Reid -- well I was known as being a problem child and there are -- practical consequences for that sometimes you don't get on the committee.
To work and issues that you like sometimes your bills don't get brought up for a vote.
I mean there are consequences to going your own way.
And so there's a constant.
Tension -- always got to do you think is right that's what you're paid to do but you can't become irrelevant in an effective so you have to try -- strike that -- spread.
But in my opinion upon this is is leadership explore it's lacking Obama has this.
Every every speech he gives its us vs them mentality that Democrats -- Republicans mentality that it's a gang type of warfare that he's fostering clean it works.
On the -- May I ask you questions -- of course on the Democrats and the Republicans basically -- between congress believes in democracy correct.
As far as I know that I -- It just out of curiosity why is it when the nation is -- speaking -- very loudly over these major affairs.
An overwhelming -- slow by and large proportions.
That you guys are basically ignoring shoving stuff down -- well.
Remember I've been retired for here now so -- -- I think what John Kerry Barbara I thought you post I figured you might have an answer to this question I got kind of set up with a two Greg -- the senator stopped shouting about a year and a half and you know as I can tell a great look when I was governor my state for eight years remember the Democratic Party my state senate was Republican -- yours the house went back and forth.
I realize pretty quickly if we were -- get anything done.
We have to figure a way to work together now did we agree on everything you know sometimes we just couldn't agree and sometimes we -- knock down drag out fights but at the end of the day we realized.
We've been hired for the same people to try and solve their problems in practical terms.
That's just not taking place right now in Washington very much.
Analysts say something as a personal prerogative.
And on this man now for fifteen years.
People -- governor he becomes senator a column statesman.
Thing this is someone who's different and I hope that you receive -- check.